Thomas Cleary, the prolific translator of Buddhist and Asian texts, died on June 20, 2021. His translations from Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese, and more have contributed greatly to the understanding of Asian classics by English readers. Cleary’s first major work, produced with his brother J.C. Cleary, was the koan collection The Blue Cliff Record, reviewed in Tricycle in 1992. He is also known for his monumental translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, also known as The Flower Ornament Sutra. Robert Thurman reviewed this for Tricycle in 1994. His review begins:
There is no doubt in my mind that Thomas Cleary is the greatest translator of Buddhist texts from Chinese or Japanese into English of our generation, and that he will be so known by grateful Buddhist practitioners and scholars in future centuries. Single-handedly he has gone a long way toward building the beginnings of a Buddhist canon in English.
Many of his works were published by Shambhala Publications, whose president Nikko Odiseos published this remembrance.
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